Community members in Dayton, Ohio are divided over how to react to a Ku Klux Klan rally that the hate group has planned in the city next month, the Dayton Daily News reported Thursday.
A Justice Department liaison invited to speak at a community meeting, Daedra A. Von Mike McGhee, urged residents not to go to the May 25 event.
“But obviously if you choose to go, I still would not engage,” McGhee said, according to the local newspaper. “Because nothing good comes from that … There’s no way to engage peacefully or intellectually or any other way that would be positive for the community. What you would be doing is actually feeding into what they want.”
But Bomani Moyenda, who attended the meeting, said he would likely go and protest.
“I probably will be down confronting that,” he said. “I probably will be down there standing against them.”
Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said some in the community hoped to ignore the Klan, others wanted to confront them, and a third group is planning alternative events of communal support at the same time.
In March, the city of Dayton sued the out-of-state Klan group, the Indiana-based Honorable Sacred Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in order to prevent them from rallying in the city’s Courthouse Square. But county commissioners conceded in a hearing later that month that the chances of their success are remote, due to the Knights’ First Amendment protections.
“Believe me, if there was a way to keep them out we definitely would,” said Montgomery County Commission president Debbie Lieberman.
The Knights’ permit said they expect 10-20 people to attend, according to the Daily News.
The local chapter of the NAACP will be holding a block party at the same time, followed by a ceremonial “cleaning” of the square the following day.